?

Log in

No account? Create an account

Previous Entry | Next Entry

Murder Never Goes on Vacation Monday

What I've Finished Reading

I'm still not sure if The Mysterious Mr. Quin is a novel or a collection of linked short stories. It could go either way! Mr. Satterthwaite is a mild-mannered elderly socialite who resists the goading of his mysterious detective genius, but not very energetically, and always manages to get mixed up in matters of life and death anyway, spoiling his breakfast and his opera dates and every single vacation he tries to take. Very cinema-atmospheric, like if someone had made The Twilight Zone as a series of film shorts in the 1930s. I'm still not really clear on what the whole harlequin thing is about, but maybe one of these days I will read a Wikipedia article about it. I particularly liked the story in which Mr. Satterthwaite saves not one, but TWO unhappy people from suicide through the power of coincidence.

I finished Conferences Are Murder by Val McDermid almost in a single sitting. Ex-journalist Lindsay Duncan travels to a journalism conference after nearly ten years of peaceful retirement with her girlfriend, only to land smack in the middle of a murder when her old nemesis, corrupt union boss Tom "Union" Jack, is found shoved out the window of her hotel room. So much for a holiday spent not breaking into other people's offices to clear her name. Quick and smart, well-written, and bracingly 90s (this book contains both hypnotism and hacking). Duncan is a wholly lovable sleuth: cynical, human, sick of this bullshit.

Conferences Are Murder is a 1999 reprint from a feminist press called Spinsters Ink, with a wonderfully bad computer-generated cover. The symbol for "Grave Issues," apparently the Spinsters Ink mystery imprint, is a tiny "woman" symbol inside a magnifying glass.

What I'm Reading Now

I opened up my new copy of The Seven Dials Mystery, and who do you think I saw? Val McDermid! Her introduction encourages the reader to treat Seven Dials as a funny pastiche of the thriller genre rather than a bad thriller, which of course it is (though whether it is a good pastiche remains to be seen), and asks the reader not to write Christie off as a hidebound conservative, which, ok, I wasn't going to.

The book itself is just as cheerful and silly as it was six months ago, or whenever it was I read the falling-apart copy. Like The Secret Adversary, I think I'll enjoy the silliness a little more now that I know what to expect. I especially appreciate that the intrepid Bundle makes sure to grab a cocktail before she locks herself in the conveniently situated eavesdropping cupboard of the international conspiracy meeting room.

What I Plan to Read Next

Giant's Bread and eventually The Sittaford Mystery. I also have another Val McDermid book around here somewhere, from the same press.

Comments

( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
a_phoenixdragon
Feb. 20th, 2017 07:04 am (UTC)
*Happy!Hugs!*
lost_spook
Feb. 20th, 2017 08:43 am (UTC)
Detectives can never go on holiday! Haven't they learned this? (Mind, I don't know what the solution is: pretend that you're doing really dull paperwork for a week and sneak out??) (The head of Doomwatch in Doomwatch (which I'm watching, er, doom-ily) tried to take a much needed holiday in yesterday's ep and, inevitably green issues raered their ugly head and killed his best friend and then severely injured him and some random cleaner. It must be quite the dilemma.)

I can't remember much about Seven Dials, except that I'm sure I found it fun, too. (Hmm, do I have a copy? I'm not even sure...) I'm also curious to hear about the non-murder Christies, because I've never read one either. It does feel a bit like, well, murder is the point of Christie! What is she like if you take the point away?
evelyn_b
Feb. 20th, 2017 02:46 pm (UTC)
There is no solution! Except maybe to form a Detection Emergency Holiday Club so that when the corpse rolls out from under your hotel breakfast table you can get on the phone tree and call in the closest available substitute.

But fictional detectives tend to be an egotistical bunch; I feel the Club might fall apart after one too many calls in which the holidaymaking detective SAYS they're going to go back to the beach once the substitute gets started but actually keeps wandering by to meddle.
lost_spook
Feb. 20th, 2017 06:13 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I mean, what if the detective you handed it over to was accustomed to a higher body count per mystery than you thought was acceptable, too? And while Alleyn would quite happily go off to the holiday, he might not if said detective seemed really eccentric and arrogant and things, because then he'd worry. It's probably just one of those things that fictional detectives just have to resign themselves to. And in recompense they get super-extended lives to not have holidays in.
evelyn_b
Feb. 20th, 2017 06:39 pm (UTC)
Aww, Alleyn. I hope for his retirement of indefinite length (for all we know, he is still enjoying it!) he can at least go down to one non-violent crime per month of holiday. Like, there was going to be a pie for dessert but some kids stole it, or a guy built his fence around some other guy's sheep and tried to pass it off as an honest mistake. That way he can keep his interrogation muscles supple with a minimum of stress.

Alleyn believes in delegation in principle but I can't see him being very tolerant of the eccentricities of amateur hour - that is, he'll be as polite about it as it is possible to be while still radiating mild, gentle waves of contempt. Eccentricity in the general population is one thing and disgraces to the profession are another.

And well, it's not his case and it would be silly to think possessively but at the same time, a man's life is a serious matter and you can't necessarily in good conscience just let a lot of randos come in and face-detect all over the place. It would be different if it were just a pie.

Edited at 2017-02-20 06:43 pm (UTC)
lost_spook
Feb. 21st, 2017 09:19 am (UTC)
And well, it's not his case and it would be silly to think possessively but at the same time, a man's life is a serious matter and you can't necessarily in good conscience just let a lot of randos come in and face-detect all over the place. It would be different if it were just a pie.

Yeah, that was pretty much what I thought. I mean, he'd go, but only if the detective in charge seemed competent, and most of them wouldn't, so he'd be stuck as much as Poirot or someone, really. (I am trying to work out how he would feel about leaving Miss Marple to get on with it, because she's competent, but he might feel bad about leaving a little old lady in danger. No wonder this holiday thing is so difficult.)
littlerhymes
Feb. 20th, 2017 10:27 am (UTC)
The Mr Quin stories are so fascinating and odd! I wish she'd written more of them.

They're almost... anti-mysteries is probably too strong a term. But the way he just kinda catalyses events, fuses things together, instead of unpicking events that have already transpired. Maybe I do mean anti-mysteries.
evelyn_b
Feb. 20th, 2017 02:47 pm (UTC)
Reverse mysteries, maybe?
littlerhymes
Feb. 21st, 2017 11:55 am (UTC)
... I like that A LOT.
osprey_archer
Feb. 20th, 2017 02:34 pm (UTC)
I especially appreciate that the intrepid Bundle makes sure to grab a cocktail before she locks herself in the conveniently situated eavesdropping cupboard of the international conspiracy meeting room.

This is the kind of attention to detail I want from my spies! Although I suppose that once she finished the cocktail, finding a place to put it down in the cupboard might prove a problem, and distract her from her eavesdropping at an important point.
evelyn_b
Feb. 20th, 2017 02:50 pm (UTC)
Bundle thinks of everything! Except where to set down her glass after she's done with it, but maybe that's something with which we all struggle.
kabzon
Feb. 20th, 2017 08:18 pm (UTC)
+++
liadtbunny
Feb. 21st, 2017 02:54 pm (UTC)
Val McDermid is an entertaining radio guest too. I always try to pay attention when she comes on the wireless.
evelyn_b
Feb. 23rd, 2017 05:39 am (UTC)
I bet she is! She seems like she'd be really smart and fun to listen to. The narrative voice of the novel is so brisk and no-bullshit.
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )

Profile

blase ev
evelyn_b
evelyn_b

Latest Month

August 2017
S M T W T F S
  12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
2728293031  

Tags

Powered by LiveJournal.com
Designed by Lilia Ahner